With Labor It's a Crime, With Corporations Just Business
Speaking of labor, this kind of right wing nonsense about union dues, making it seem undemocratic and sinsister that a union advocates politically on behalf of its members, is trotted out every few years. In 2005 they tried to essentially ban the practice in California, to no avail.
The mighty Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to spend some $150 million in this year's election, most of it to get Barack Obama and other Democrats elected. Where'd they get that much money?
That's a question the Departments of Labor and Justice are being asked to investigate by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Specifically, the labor watchdog group wants Justice to query a new SEIU policy that appears to coerce local workers into funding the parent union's national political priorities.
The union adopted a new amendment to its constitution at last month's SEIU convention, requiring that every local contribute an amount equal to $6 per member per year to the union's national political action committee. This is in addition to regular union dues. Unions that fail to meet the requirement must contribute an amount in "local union funds" equal to the "deficiency," plus a 50% penalty. According to an SEIU union representative, this has always been policy, but has now simply been formalized.
No other major institution could get away with its bosses demanding that every single one of its workers step in line behind its political preferences. This is the sort of imposed political obeisance that infuriates so many workers and turns them away from unions.
What the wingers fail to mention is that corporate PAC money routinely goes to candidates and party committees without the expressed consent of the employees. It's also another case of the WSJ opinion section not reading the WSJ news section:
In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.
Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income.
You can bet that those in the top 1% paid to have their tax rate go down. You can bet that the companies those in the top 1% run paid as well, and not with a permission slip from the workforce. And you can bet that SEIU workers at the bottom are pretty happy to have their leadership fighting against inequality so strongly. The op-ed piece is a textbook example of union-busting. They want to cripple labor's political power while maintaining it for privately held corporations.